President Adama Barrow

“We are doing our best”. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” Mamudu: Someone should tell President Adam Barrow to go and read what Sir Winston Churchill meant by that statement. Everywhere you turn, there is pain, poverty, bitterness and squalor. But the person hired to clear the mess and halt the drift is whining, drooling and dozing.

President Barrow at a brunch and private meetings with his inner circle that he isn’t in a hurry to do anything because he is afraid of making mistakes, does not want to appear before a commission of inquiry, go to exile, mistakes of his predecessors. He also confessed that he is “confined” in the Statehouse, shut out from the people.

According to leaks from Statehouse, with his supporters, Adam Barrow said so many other ‘great’ things in so few words. He again told his advisers and senior members of the Barrow Youth Movement for Development members, council of elders, religious, traditional and youth movements, the Sarahule council of elders from diverse places in the country: “You are closer to the people than myself now that I have been confined here.

Don’t allow anybody to talk of “no system change, the coalition MOU agreement and hijacking of the presidency”. It’s true… and it appears that; did that not sound like a hostage crying out for freedom? Who held hostage our president? Is he a hostage to situations, to some shadowy people, to certain fears or expectations? We need to know! George Kohlrieser, psychologist, hostage negotiator and the author of ‘Hostage at the Table’ asks, “Are you being held hostage without knowing it?” If a leader does not know that he is a hostage to power and powerful interests, it may be a little complicated trying to free him. The one who is asleep is the one that needs to be jolted back to life. But our own president knows he is “locked up” and far removed from us, and he is happy about it. So, how do we help him and help ourselves?

Mamudu: The president of Gambia is a very powerful ruler. He is supposed to be the one putting his ‘captors’ in captivity. But no; he is the one “locked up” with the wellness of the nation. Our laws ensure that the president’s actions and inactions impact on the wellbeing of all. What about a leader in captivity? The one who is not slow in judgement, motion and action is the one alive to tell tales of battle. Governance, like war, is a job for the clear-headed. It does not shift for the tardy and the unsure and the one in captivity. This 21st century world is a fast-paced impatient phenomenon. It sees no reason why it must wait for a third-rate nation that chooses sleep over work. That is why I am worried that the president celebrated his slowness and helplessness before the whole world.

Darryle Pollack, popular American author and cancer activist, was a 14-year-old girl when she sat in a plane beside the world’s fastest human in 1964 without knowing it. She saw something fascinating about the man and demanded his name. He told her his name was Bob Hayes. “Sorry,” she said, shaking her head. “Never heard of you.” The following morning, ‘Bullet’ Bob Hayes’ photo was on the front page of the Miami Herald as the world’s 100-meter dash Olympic gold winner, and Pollack saw it! Years later, she wrote that she could have asked for an autograph if she had known who he was. Lamenting that missed opportunity, she described herself as the “world’s slowest woman” — because she could not recognize gold when seated beside it.

Mamudu: I wonder how many missed opportunities Adam Barrow has had in almost two years to lift the country. Mamudi: Sometimes I wonder what sort of books some people read growing up. In primary school, there was this story about a wealthy man who was blessed with a very slow son. All his efforts to get the boy to be smart were rebuffed. The rich man was not a happy man. And then he died and willed all his riches to his only son who by then lived abroad. The slow boy got a prompt message that his father was no more, but he was used to his life of tardiness. He would take his time to go home, at his own pace. He was very sure the world would wait for him, no matter how late he was. Eventually he set out for home, moving at his own measured pace. But there was no one waiting again to mourn with him when he got home. Worse, his inheritance had gone with the winds, forever beyond his reach. Weeping without consolation couldn’t help him. It was too late.

Mamudu: Friends of slow people would regale us with the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise by Brian Wildsmith. They would insist that slow and steady wins the race. They wouldn’t tell us what happens when the slow one is also unsteady. They would tell us that in that race of unequal between swift Hare and slow Tortoise, the improbable happened: Yes, slow Tortoise won. But they wouldn’t admit that Tortoise won because Hare in his arrogance wrote off his rival. The author Brian Wildsmith story say swift, proud Hare “lies down halfway through and goes to sleep.” He also tells us that slow Tortoise got the trophy not just because Hare slept on the way but because Tortoise, even in his slowness, was steady and clear on his mission. The slow one plodded along until he passed the sleeping Hare and breasted the tape.

Mamudu: At his current pace, Adam Barrow cannot win any race. He cannot score any goal. If he scores any, it will be an own goal. And I’m not sure he hasn’t been doing just that. President Barrow almost two years have been epochal in indecisiveness. And the cost has been enormous in homes and in workplaces. Jobs have been lost and are being lost in corporate boardrooms.

Mamudu: The Gambia cannot be great by rule by a mercurial leader who is whimsical. What it needs are men and women with sound engines and strong, rolling chassis. No leader should feel he is in detention in the presidential palace. No leader should be convinced that he does not need to be smart and fast in what he is doing. No leader should lament about entitlement as a limiting factor. Smoky engines and wobbly bodies can only compound the acute pollution of our politics, our economy and the prosperity of the people. We do not need slow men at work. Not anymore.